Day three had us on the road from Tucumcari, New Mexico to Holbrook, Arizona. The absolute scale of the landscape tests the limits of my mind. As we travelled and viewed vista after vista of changing colors, rising rock formations and seemingly endless juniper flats I was challenged to establish any sort of perspective. I could look at one thing or a few things, but when I tried to look at the entire view, it left me exasperated. The scale is beyond my experience and the subject matter too foreign.
It’s ego, of course, that causes me to just say this is too much, it doesn’t make sense, it’s not real. I don’t want to recognize that the forces of nature and power of creation are so much bigger than I am that I can’t comprehend it. It takes things like the beauty and strangeness of the painted desert or petrified forest to put me in my place. It looked different every time I turned a corner or climbed a hill. Light and dark, red and blue and gray and black and yellow and colors I don’t have words for.
It all got started somewhere. I got the geology lesson and I understand the archeological record and the science. And when I stood in the blue Mesa and took it all in, all I could think of as the cliffs danced with color and shadow, was “let there be light.”